My wife and I set out on an adventure of a lifetime recently. This is our story. My hope in sharing our experience is that it may help you get out of your own comfort zone, take ownership over your own happiness and motivate you to seek your own adventure. Adventure is an amazing tool that can help you find the best version of yourself and give you back that feeling of “being alive.” Thanks for checking it out.
Trekking from Ulleri to Gorepani
After two days of trekking we made it from Nayapul (1000m elevation) to Gorepani (Ghode Pani). We were at the base of Poon Hill (3200m elevation). The following morning we would climb nearly 1000 feet in less than 1 mile’s distance to get to the most spectacular view of the Annapurna Mountain range. This map gives you a sense for topography we traversed in our first two days.
Day two on the trail was all about climbing. Step after step, one foot in front of the other and the air thinning with every step up – my chest would begin to feel tight, lungs would begin to burn, heart would begin to work harder than it did on day 1. Maureen and I enjoyed every step of day 2 as you will see in the photo gallery below. This day’s trek started amidst the beauty of the lush, green rhododendron forest and provided a calm, zen-like effect for the group following breakfast. I remember this morning’s trek being very quiet with each trekker deep in thought for our first few hours of walking. This was different for us as there was always some chatter on the trail. Later in the day, as we broke out from underneath the forest canopy, the elevation, views and ascent into the mountains became exhilarating. The excitement of reaching Poon Hill was building and a “buzz” started to surround the group as we approached 7000 feet. We didn’t realize it at the time but we were only a ravine or two away from the big boys (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Machapuchere). Those giants cast such a vast shadow around us in every direction as we made our way up the trail to Gorepani. I became enamored with their presence and became suddenly grateful for their gifts to me.
In those steps on the approach to Gorepani, I started to feel a feeling that only mountains can give. Those who have spent time in the mountains will know what I am talking about. The mountains speak to you. They urge you to dig down deep physically, emotionally and spiritually. There is no chance that you will get to the summit or to your highest point without exploring some facet of your being. During this day’s climb I thought about my life, my family, my kids, my friends, the neighborhood where I grew up and the friends I grew up with. I became intensely grateful for everyone who has contributed to my life. I wondered if I had adequately returned the favor or been man enough to pay it forward. Coming in to this trip, I was hoping for this kind of mountain-inspired reflection but I wasn’t sure it would happen. It turns out that I didn’t need to force it, the mountains know what they are doing. They make you feel so small – in every way. It was this feeling that returned me to my center. It re-adjusted my perspective and gave me every reason to be open to a new reality. This new reality is a new “me” that carries forth a renewed spirit of gratitude and appreciation and reminds me to reprioritize what is important by “beginning with the end in mind.” For me, that “end” is being known as a loving and caring husband and father by Maureen, Faith and JJ; being remembered as a patriot and loyal soldier who loved his country and lastly I hope that I made my mother, brother and sisters proud by the way I have lived my life; after all they all have put so much time, effort and love into making me who I am.
Getting back to center has been uplifting for sure. And that inspiration has lived on each day since our return. However the morning after our arrival in Gorepani, the morning we climbed to Poon Hill (October 12th) has changed my life for the better. I’ll tell you how in Chapter 6 next Thursday.
Teaser alert – I am heading back to Nepal in January 2018. This time to Everest Base Camp. I have 5 spots available if anyone would like to join me. FB message me if you are interested and I can send you the details, pricing, itinerary, etc.